The Inflation Reduction Act A well-intentioned and controversial Law by carlos matías
The Inflation Reduction Act is the largest climate and renewable energy defense package ever undertaken by the U.S. government. However, not everyone believes in its benefits. Samarys Seguinot-Medina, director of environmental health at Alaska Community Action on Toxics, discusses what’s good and bad about the law.
This ambitious 725-page law is not only focused on containing inflation, but includes historic investments in the environment, renewable energy and public health. But its detractors, such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, say it “is riddled with anti-environmental provisions, money and legal maneuvering that undermine much, if not all, of the good it can create (...) It streamlines the permitting process for the construction of fossil fuel pipelines, coal mines and chemical plants (...) It provides a new 700 million acres (2. 830,000 km2) of public lands and waters for oil and gas drilling over the next decade, and subsidizes drilling and fracking.”
“I’m torn when I think about the benefits and drawbacks of this new law,” says Samarys Seguinot-Medina, environmental health director for Alaska Community Action on Toxics. “On the one hand, it’s an excellent start to begin to get a handle on the very serious problems we’re facing in economics and Climate Change. On the other hand, it falls short on the magnitude of the problems we face.” “I want to say that I think it’s a good start. But it’s only a start,” Samarys adds. “We have to keep working and do much more. Design a Strategic Plan by expanding the laws into an international strategy, not only in the United States, but globally.”
Samarys Seguinot-Medina considers that “the effects of Climate Change are clearly seen in the Arctic and Alaska. They affect the food of indigenous peoples, food security, people’s food, salmon, which is their livelihood. The waters of Bristol Bay are polluted by industrial waste, and that pollution reaches the poles. The impact is tripled, and the efforts have to be tripled as well. We must be equal to the problem.”
Regarding the exploitation of hydrocarbons and gas to face the energy crisis, Samarys considers that “it would be excellent to stick to the Paris Protocol, to which the United States has returned after Trump pulled us out. We need to act, not just talk. Sustainable energies and solar panels are doing a great job even in Alaska. If the government acts and creates education, awareness, and listens to indigenous peoples, the people can know how to get the nation’s future on track. But indigenous peoples are forgotten and marginalized.” Samarys agrees with the critics who charge that this law only benefits the rich and impoverishes those who are already poor, and that it brings no possibilities or opportunities in the workforce. “That’s why I feel divided. The companies that invest in renewable energy technologies belong to those who hoard great fortunes. Their owners are not philanthropists.”
PROUDLY POWERED BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE NEWS, LLC. Sol de Medianoche is a monthly publication of the Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska